“Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” demands the viewer’s full attention from start to finish. Based on the book by James Patterson, John Connolly and Tim Malloy, the limited series follows several survivors of Epstein’s underage sex trafficking ring while still following a linear, narrative style of a Patterson novel.
It would be a waste of time to watch the series without thinking critically about the societal issues of gender and class and how they intersect.
The theme of accountability is brought up time and time again throughout the survivors’ testimonies.
Survivor Annie Farmer hits the nail on the head in the final episode when she essentially says Epstein’s money and status, which goes hand-in-hand with his ability to blackmail others in power, allowed him to escape accountability for many years.
Frustratingly enough, the survivors’ chance to finally see justice is jilted by Epstein’s apparent suicide.
The series does a stellar job of connecting the dots between Epstein, Trump, the Clinton family and even Harvey Weinstein, who notoriously preyed on young actresses in Hollywood.
Obviously, Weinstein and Epstein have more in common than the last couple letters of their names.
The methods each used to lure young women to their homes/hotels centered around intimidation.
The already inappropriate “just one massage” ploy would lead to further trauma, and promises of career advancement and gifts — whether monetary or in the form of irreplaceable experiences — kept survivors quiet.
Both perverts also preyed on vulnerable victims. In the case of Epstein, most of the girls came from across the bridge from Palm Beach, which was a whole different world.
As seen in the series, many homes were unstable, and some survivors were essentially homeless before Epstein found them. He promised quick money, but the price was lifelong trauma.
Young actresses, and even young journalists, struggling to reach solid footing in their careers were silenced by Weinstein’s power in the entertainment industry.
Both men had friends in high places, and clearly, both men had enough leverage to make many powerful people turn a blind eye to what was going on.
In Hollywood or on private estates, this victimization is not unusual. And if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
Let these cases serve as an example to all of us to remain vigilant and call out these crimes for what they are. No, Epstein did not solicit prostitution — prostution can imply willingness, and these victims were all minors who could not consent.
Let us hold those in power accountable for not only fraternizing with these men, but also for turning away when things got messy (that is, when the truth was exposed and change was demanded).
Much to its downfall, “Filthy Rich” passes up a great opportunity to educate viewers on what they can do to help end sexual harassment and sexual assault.
It’s clear Epstein abused his power, and because of the #MeToo movement, we all know problems such as these are not limited to the most elite.
But what can we do? The series leaves much to be desired for those who wish to engage in personal activism.
It doesn’t touch at all on statutes of limitations for sexual assault survivors and how this makes cases look different from state to state.
In addition, we are left to wonder what happened to Epstein’s right hand, and dare I say accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Was the socialite willingly recruiting and partaking in the assaults, or was she being blackmailed as well?
Either way, the docuseries hardly holds her accountable in the last episode.
For more information on the Weinstein case, and to see how badass journalists blew it wide open, watch “Untouchable” on Hulu. “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” is now streaming on Netflix.